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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Another Democratic Presidential Candidate Calls For a Federal Gun Licensing System

Good morning, Bulletin readers. On the fifth anniversary of the Isla Vista shooting, the misogynist ideology that inspired the attack remains a threat. An Illinois bill that would strengthen the state’s gun owner licensing program by requiring fingerprints faces pushback from both sides of the aisle. A Democratic candidate puts forward a bold proposal for national gun licenses.

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NEW FROM THE TRACE

Five years after the Isla Vista shooting, the “incel” phenomenon continues to inspire gunmen. On May 23, 2014, a man stabbed three people to death in his apartment before shooting 10 others in the college town of Isla Vista, California, killing three. He was part of the online subculture of so-called involuntary celibates, or “incels,” a group of men united in their hatred of women. A new Trace story, in partnership with Jezebel, shows how this extreme brand of misogyny has on a number of occasions curdled into gun violence.

A bill to revamp Illinois’ gun licensing system is advancing. Lawmakers voted along party lines on Tuesday to move the legislation out of committee despite objections from some Democrats worried about one of its provisions, which would increase fees for the license needed to legally possess guns in the state. The proposal seeks to close loopholes in the state’s licensing program exposed by February’s mass shooting in Aurora. At its heart is a requirement that the fingerprints of prospective gun owners be scanned in order to reduce the risk of missing any with disqualifying records.

WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NRA sues longtime marketing firm for leaks, “coup” attempt. The suit, filed late Wednesday, is the second time in two months the gun group has taken Ackerman McQueen to court. The National Rifle Association alleges that leaks from the firm were the origin of recent articles detailing lavish spending by NRA leader Wayne LaPierre. The suit also claims that the former NRA board president, Oliver North, was at the forefront of an attempt by Ackerman to engineer LaPierre’s ouster. As The Trace’s Mike Spies has reported, before the NRA’s problematic financial practices spilled into public view, its in-house accountants raised alarms in internal memos.

Another Democratic presidential candidate calls for a federal gun licensing system. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on Wednesday released his plan for reducing gun violence. It includes expanded mental health services in schools, universal background checks, and funding for urban gun violence intervention programs. It would also require people born after 2001 to pass a gun safety test and receive a license before they can buy firearms. Fellow presidential hopeful Senator Cory Booker has also called for a federal standard for gun licenses.

One Maryland county has seized 132 guns under the state’s new red flag law. In the seven months since the law took effect, the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office says it has collected more than 100 guns and 35,000 rounds of ammunition. The office reported serving a total of 56 extreme risk protection orders since October, allowing them to seize weapons from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. More: Of all the states with ERPO laws on the books, some experts say Maryland has become the national leader in implementation, partly because authorities there can issue an extreme risk protection order 24/7.

House appropriators passed a funding increase for the ATF. The budget approved Wednesday sets aside $1.44 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, a 9.3 percent increase. It also includes $80 million for states to improve the data they submit to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and $43.5 million for violence intervention and prevention programs within the Department of Justice.

The Texas Senate voted to arm more teachers. The bill approved Tuesday would expand the state’s existing school marshal program by getting rid of limits on the number of teachers authorized to carry guns on campus. It’s one of several gun bills advancing in the Texas Legislature. On Monday, the House passed a measure allowing gun owners to carry weapons in church.

More than 50 Kentucky parishioners participated in a “church security conference.” The event was held Tuesday at a Louisville-area gun range where participants were trained in gun safety and how to respond in an active shooter scenario. The president of the gun range said the high demand for the training is the result of recent church shootings, like the 2017 massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

ONE LAST THING

Los Angeles high schoolers launched a satirical ad campaign to call attention to gun violence. The teenagers designed a series of faux advertisements for insurance that would protect against mass shootings, accidental shootings, and domestic homicides. They plan to post them on bus shelters and on social media. The policies the ads hawk are imaginary. One of the ad’s creators expressed a hope that “there is no need for this preparation ever.”